Adelaide United tonight scored a inspirational 2-1 win over arch nemesis Melbourne Victory in front of more than 20,000 fans at Adelaide Oval. In the 24th meeting between the clubs and the first in Adelaide in about a year-and-a-half, the Reds came out on top with a stirring performance which evoked plenty of emotion from the supporters which isn't seen all that often in this competition.
After ten straight wins for the Victory, the Reds have fought back to take down their rivals in the past two encounters with tonight's triumph coming via goals from Paul Reid and captain Travis Dodd either side of an Archie Thompson strike.
It was Melbourne's first loss in six matches, ending their streak of three wins on the trot as Adelaide stitched up third spot with their first set of full points in four outings.
The atmosphere was electric for the entire match as Reds fans rejoiced after the final whistle in a great advertisement for the game in this country.
GOAL The Reds got the dream start when midfielder Paul Reid took a free-kick from the left flank which evaded the masses in the box and managed to get past Victory keeper Michael Petkovic on the bounce to give the home side the lead in just after the fifth minute ticked over.
The tenth minute brought about a massive incident when Andy Slory was played on-side before advancing into the area and upon trying to get around Petkovic, the Dutchman slipped and collided heavily with the Victory gloveman but referee Ryan Shepheard waved play on - and on viewing the replay he got it spot on.
Melbourne were at odds and ends in their own penalty area with Slory and Marcos Flores causing plenty of issues but they soon settled down and got back into the contest slowly but surely as the Adelaide Oval surface seemed to be providing a few problems for the players, with a number of them slipping over with fairly innocuously movements.
The Victory produced a lovely move right on the half-hour mark which involved Marvin Angulo and Robbie Kruse but Mate Dugandzic's shot lacked direction before Kruse was again busy but was forced to go wide allowing Nigel Boogard to make a strong block.
After 20 minutes of not much creativity up forward, Adelaide sprung into action when Travis Dodd found Flores on the edge of the area but Petkovic had no trouble with the shot before the Reds controlled the last section of the first half and were probably unlucky not to go ahead late when Reid was found alone in the area but his shot went wide.
Angulo forced a decent save out of Eugene Galekovic in the first good chance of the second half before Ernie Merrick made a double substitution just prior to the hour-mark, bringing on Carlos Hernandez and Archie Thompson for Dugandzic and Pondeljak.
But it was Adelaide who stepped up their play with Flores playing a neat ball to Reid who was unable to turn it back for Travis Dodd. The Reds looked irresistible on the break, constantly stretching the Victory defence who were holding on for dear life.
GOAL Thompson was the man of the moment in the 65th minute when he was able to grab a leveler when Danny Allsopp pounced on an error from Reds centre-half Dario Bodrusic. Allsopp played it back to an unmarked Thompson who only needed an inch of space to curl it in around Galekovic to make it 1-1.
GOAL The home side were able to get themselves back in the lead against the run of play when skipper Dodd got on the end of an Iain Ramsay free-kick from the right flank to finish with a lovely header with just over ten minutes remaining, sending the Adelaide Oval crowd into raptures.
The Victory strived hard to mount a response in the final stages of the match and came extremely close when Hernandez tried his luck from long range, taking the shoulder of Nigel Boogaard, and although it had Galekovic beaten, it could not sneak in past the left upright as the Reds held on for a win they will surely savor.
AUEugene Galekovic (gk), Cameron Watson, Nigel Boogaard, Dario Bodrusic (Cornthwaite 69'), Paul Reid, Francisco Usucar, Adam Hughes, Marcos Flores, Andy Slory (Ramsay 37'), Mathew Leckie (Pantelis 82'), Travis Dodd
Subs - Mark Birighitti (gk), Iain Ramsay (37'), Robert Cornthwaite (69'), Lucas Pantelis (82')
MV Michael Petkovic (gk), Petar Franjic, Roddy Vargas, Adrian Leijer, Matthew Kemp (Sukha 76'), Diogo Ferreira, Tom Pondeljak (Thompson 58'), Marvin Angulo, Mate Dugandzic (Hernandez 57'), Robbie Kruse, Danny Allsopp
Subs - Sebastian Mattei (gk), Carlos Hernandez (57'), Archie Thompson (58'), Surat Sukha (76')